On September 28, 2020, after living at Abbott Terrace in Waterbury for a short time, my sweet mother, Marie Parker Petty met Jesus. She is the daughter of the late William Leonard and Marie (Dowd) Pennell.
She leaves behind her faithful husband John J. Petty, a loving daughter Heather Drake and her husband Eric, a sister Barbara Ablamsky of Morris, CT. as well as many nieces and nephews.
She is predeceased by her first husband Wilbur Reed Parker and daughter Faith Marie Parker as well as two sisters, and a brother.
She is no longer confined to a body that had succumb to Dementia for the past 5 years.
Never a day went by that Mom let a meal start without saying; “Grace” and pray for the safety of any loved one traveling. When she loved someone, she loved with every fiber of her being. Anything she did in life was done with love as her motivator.
She was a Sunday school teacher, piano player for the church, wife, mother and friend. She worked as a bank teller, diner server and school bus driver. When she had free time she enjoyed roller skating, fishing or playing Scrabble with family and friends.
Often you could find her hands busy with crafts, knitting, making wreaths out of plastic sandwich bags or Christmas decorations out of scraps of ribbon or fabric. Yet a majority of the time was spent sewing clothes for my sister and I to wear as well as for baby dolls and Cabbage Patch dolls as a great brief business with her sister Marilen Pennel.
Mom loved animals and we would end up with all kinds of critters in the house. She was a member of the Flanders Nature Center and way back in the 1970’s there was only one Wild Life Emergency Hospital we knew of and that was over an hour away so if anybody in town found a wounded “anything” (except snakes) she would try to nurse it back to health. From a tiny rabbit to a real Canadian goose and boy did that guy HONK every fall and spring when the geese were taking flight over the house. (Pass the earplugs please).
Truth be told, a special extra loving treat for her was holding babies. Any new mother would gravitate toward my mom because they could tell she was a “safe place” and a welcome temporary baby sitter so that the new mom could go to the bathroom….alone.
What calmed her anxious heart was feeding seagulls at the beach or watching swans on a pond. In fact, one of her sisters called her “Swan” because my mother was visually mostly shy and graceful even though she was dealing with many, many racing thoughts at once.
Once mom knew what it meant to be loved by Jesus Christ, loving others came easy. Her faith drove her to pray for everyone she knew to go to church and find a relationship with God Almighty for themselves.
Even during these last few very challenging years before Dementia would cause her body to rebel and not let her communicate her heart she had a sweet, loving spirit with a great sense of humor which pulling pranks came easy to her.
One of my favorite pass-times with mom was making faces. She had a classic one that everyone knew her for and that was when she could cause her bottom lip to form a V and the corners of her mouth would curl up and her eyes would sparkle with laughter and joy.
She loved others deeply, helped all those she could and sometimes took the roll of peace-maker. There was one challenging part in her heart however. She still battled with why the Lord took her daughter from her at such a very young age and years later the first love of her life was called home way too early.
Grief caused her to stay stuck in “why”. She wanted to push past it but she felt if she got past losing them it would appear that she was “okay” with the loss. Living in the mindset of “Why” caused an undertow of bitterness and sadness. Only those closest to her knew this internal battle. She would say; “I want to, want to but I just can’t”.
My sister fought cancer for years. She prayed every night for a sister and finally her prayer was answered with me.
Years later my father fought cancer as well and was only concerned with someone caring for Mom after he was gone and we were blessed with her marriage to her second loving husband, John Petty.
So today, in learning so much more about faith in Christ, my heart is not filled with “why”, but with; “Even though”.
Even though my sister died, I have a few close friends that I can call Sister. Even though my dad died I now have another family intertwined with mine that I cherish and never would have met if my father was still here.
Now my mother has met Jesus face to face and is finally healed of her “why” spiritual struggle.
By faith in Christ alone I can honestly NOT be stuck in “why” but in the mind set of “even though”.
Even though my mother suffered with dementia it caused me to be exposed to and experience such a horrible disease which helped me to be an even better caregiver for others suffering with dementia. Even though she ended up in a nursing facility for the last 5 years of her life because of the dementia, I ended up meeting some of the most caring, dedicated and selfless people that I normally would never have met.
Even though my Mom has now met Jesus face to face and is no longer here with me I know she is forever in Heaven with the Lord and that is “good enough” for me.
With fondest memories, written by her daughter Heather Drake
A private graveside service for family will take place on Friday, but the family is looking forward to a "Celebration of Life" service in the spring. In lieu of flowers please send any donations to Heather Drake for her to disperse to different charities in her mother's name.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marie Parker Petty, please visit our floral store.
Donations for Marie Parker Petty c/o Heather Drake
62 White Deer Rocks Road Apartment #2-B, Woodbury CT 06798